Kourtney Anderson

Alumni, Kourtney Anderson, graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor’s Doctorate of Education program. Anderson is currently an Academic & Career Planning Coordinator for the Milwaukee Public School District. Take a look at Anderson’s experience as a graduate student at Concordia.

Why did you choose the Doctor of Leadership in Innovation and Continuous Improvement (LICI) program at Concordia?

I chose to enroll in the LICI program at Concordia based on my past experience within the Master of Science-Professional School Counseling program. During the counseling program, the CUW staff not only showed care and concern for my studies but for my personal life as well.

If I missed a class or didn’t seem like myself, I could always count on the professors to check on my well-being. No matter the professor, I felt worthy, supported, and understood by all of my professors during my educational journey. For this specific reason, I knew that if I was to continue to further my education, it would be here.

How did this program help take your career to the next level?

My goal in this program was to increase my impact in an educational environment. The LICI program gave me the expertise to effectively help students by assessing both small and large organizations.

Discuss your experiences with the cohort model.

The cohort model was a wonderful and supportive experience. Since each cohort begins their study together and progresses through the program collectively, there is an opportunity to build relationships and utilize classmates’ strengths. Having the opportunity to work together and progress through the program together provided an extra layer of support that is greatly needed when pursuing a doctorate degree.

What did you learn from your cohort peers?

I learned from my peers that there is always room to improve and grow. They showed me new educational techniques and practices I hadn’t seen before. This helped me understand that you can always make progress when introducing ideas and curricula to students.

What are your goals with your new Ed.D.?

I got a job in an educational environment that enables me to apply the knowledge I obtained with my Ed.D. My aim is to make use of my place as an Academic & Career Plan Coordinator by designing academic and career planning curricula and tools to assess programs. I hope to also generate materials for counselors and students. My ultimate goal is to establish academic and career planning chances and lessons tailored to students in urban settings, to bring back hope in this particular student group.

How did the LICI program transform you?

It has transformed me by enhancing my creativity and innovation skills. Since participating in the program, I’m more creative in the development and implementation of educational programs and activities with students. Additionally, I develop innovative materials and documents that can be useful for both families and counselors during the enrollment process.

What was a pleasant surprise about the LICI program?

I was pleasantly surprised by the support received throughout each course on the formation and completion of the dissertation. At the start, I was nervous and worried about how I would progress in the creation of the dissertation.

After beginning, I quickly received support and direction on how to choose and construct a dissertation topic. From constructing dissertation topics and ideas to researching supporting themes, and constructing each chapter within the document, the LICI professors offered support with the entire dissertation journey.   

What were the hardest and easiest aspects of completing a dissertation?

The easiest aspect of completing the dissertation is the formation of a dissertation question or problem. If you are passionate and knowledgeable about a topic, finding new research for the dissertation will come easily.

The hardest aspect is narrowing down the exact themes, research articles, and information to use. During the research process, numerous research articles are reviewed and determined for usage. If you determine all information is useful within the dissertation, the narrowing of articles can be difficult and can become overwhelming.

How did you grow personally and academically during your dissertation process?

Personally, the dissertation process helped me to gain knowledge about topics of interest within my field which helped me to evolve professionally and be considered for promotions within my organization. Academically, the dissertation process has helped me to strengthen my critical thinking and writing skills to properly contribute to my field of study.

What connections did you make with your LICI professors?

The strong connections I made with the LICI professors ultimately resulted in meaningful and long-lasting relationships. They provide me with professional references who can elaborate on my academic performance and personal growth.

These connections also are a great network for a plethora of career opportunities, as well as valuable guidance from distinguished individuals within the field. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge received, skills gained, and relationships built from my participation in the LICI program.

What were your most memorable experiences in the LICI program?

My most memorable experience was the completion of the group project during the second residency. During the project, I worked with peers who had various strengths to create a new educational program or system. The most valuable takeaway was understanding the value of having a team that is diverse in abilities, career backgrounds, and perspectives.  

If you’re interested in hearing more stories from alumni, start here. Or if you’re looking for information on the LICI program, click below.